Crocs, Nike, Shein, favorite brands of American Generation Z: LEK survey

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Boston-based global consulting firm LEK’s latest survey of the most preferred clothing and footwear brands by Gen Z (people aged 9-24) in the United States found that Crocs, Nike, Shein, Columbia and Dr. Materns are among the best choices.

The company’s results in the 2022 U.S. Footwear and Apparel Brand Heat Index are segmented across multiple generations (including Millennials and Gen Xers) by gender in four usage categories. To gauge the relative “warmth” or growth trajectory of each brand, LEK has compiled the survey results into a new “Brand Warmth Index”.

In the athletic shoe category, Nike and Brand Jordan dominate for both men and women. Beyond these, Vans, Converse, Adidas, Under Armour, Veja and On Running are in the top 10 by gender. Nobull and Tretorn complete the top 10 for women, with Puma and New Balance for men.

Boston-based global consultancy, LEK’s latest survey of the most preferred clothing and footwear brands by Gen Z (people aged 9-24) in the United States found that Crocs, Nike, Shein, Columbia and Dr. Materns are among the best choices. The company’s results in the 2022 U.S. Footwear and Apparel Brand Heat Index are segmented across generations by gender.

Similar to shoes, Nike dominates sportswear for men and women, followed by Lululemon. The top ten women’s brands also include Gymshark, Fabletics and Sweaty Betty. Adidas, Champion, and Supreme are popular for both men and women, and boot brands, such as Tracksmith, Western Rise, and Vissia, are popular for men.

For casual shoes, Crocs, Dr Martens, Birkenstock and Timberland are among the top five brands for Gen Z men and women. The lists then split, with men preferring brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger and newer brands like Greats, Vionic and OluKai. Women are also turning to brands such as – UGG, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger – as well as sustainability-conscious Thousand Fell, with new brands Tkees and Asos rounding out the top 10.

Leading women’s casual wear are online fast fashion brands – Shein, Fashion Nova and Prettylittlething, with retail brands Carhartt, Urban Outfitters and Zara also doing well. Gen Z women also identify with more affordable brands, such as Forever 21. The men’s list is also dominated by Shein, but the main players are more mainstream brands, with Tommy Hilfiger and Carhartt rounding out the top three. For Gen Z men, other mall-based retailers — Uniqlo and Hollister — are joining the list. American Eagle, H&M and Hot Topic are popular for both men and women.

When it comes to outdoor footwear, Columbia is very popular among both men and women. For women, come the brands present on the men’s list: Bearpaw, Reef, Sorel and Merrell. Teva, Mammut and Arc’teryx are hot for women and Eddie Bauer rounds out the top 10. For men, Black Diamond tops the list with Oakley in second place. Also trending for men: Cat Footwear and Helly Hansen.

“In the outdoor footwear segment, our survey found greater range even among the top ten rated brands, signaling that there are only a handful of brands driving incremental appeal growth. for consumers and a long line of others who are doing well but not as strong for consumers,” said Jon Weber, LEK partner and co-author of the survey report.

For both men and women, the outdoor clothing market is dominated by brands like The North Force, Patagonia and Columbia. The lists split from here – for women, Fjällräven, Helly Hansen, Norrøna, Rab, Arc’teryx, Freefly and Rossignol complete the top 10. And for men the list continues with NRS, Snow Peak, Norrøna , Aether, Oakley, Simms and Black Diamond.

“Interestingly, Gen Z men – based on their scores for the top 10 brands – are less engaged or excited about many outdoor apparel brands compared to their Gen Z counterparts. Generation X and Generation Y,” Weber said.

With Gen Z dress shoes, men are less engaged with the category as a whole, and mall-specific brands are doing well, like Aldo. Hugo Boss tops the men’s list, with Alfani and Cole Haan performing, and Ferragamo, Stacy Adams, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole and Nisolo rounding out the top 10. For women, Calvin Klein and Sam Edelman follow Steve Madden, with other brands – Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade and Chinese Laundry – behind them. Smaller brands, like Jack Erwin and Franco Sarto, also hit the top 10.

In dressy clothes, Calvin Klein tops both lists. Big brands, like Astr the Label and Adrianna Papell, are represented on the women’s list, which also includes Michael Kors, Bardot, Kate Spade, MM LaFleur, Veronica Beard and Reformation. In the menswear category, Ministry of Supply, Banana Republic and Theory are doing well, along with Indochino, Marc New York and Zegna.

“Each generation has their own distinct style preferences which can be seen through the brands trending among each cohort. By understanding which brands are most successful in reaching and, more importantly, engaging with their targeted consumer segments , other brands, retailers and investors can design the strategies that are likely to have the most impact for their businesses,” said Chris Randall, LEK partner and co-author of the survey report.

“As Gen Z continues to gain greater purchasing power associated with their influence on fashion, clothing and footwear brands have drawn attention to them – and, with behaviors and attitudes of buying varies relative to other generations, brands and investors need to better understand their generational preferences to gain the upper hand,” said Laura Brookhiser, LEK partner and co-author of the survey report.

Fibre2Fashion News Office (HO)

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